The left side of this year's NCAA Tournament bracket is all-chalk. The right is all-ACC. In the East Region, North Carolina dominated a hot Indiana team, 101-86, while Notre Dame staged an impressive comeback to beat Wisconsin 61-56. The Tar Heels and Fighting Irish have played twice already this season. On February 6, Notre Dame edged out UNC at home 80-76, behind 19 points a piece from Bonzie Colson and Demetrius Jackson. Things went far differently in rematch, which took place in the ACC Tournament semifinal. North Carolina crushed the Irish 78-47. Marcus Paige scored 16 points and dished out seven assists.
Game Time: Sunday, March 27, 8:49 p.m. E.T.
TV Channel: TBS
Announcers: Brian Anderson/Steve Smith/Dana Jacobson
Betting Line: UNC -10
Prediction: In the 2015 Elite Eight, Notre Dame entered its match-up with undefeated Kentucky as a similarly large underdog, and wound up giving the Wildcats everything they could handle before losing 68-66. This Notre Dame team has not been quite as consistent as last year's, and North Carolina is absolutely rolling right now. The Tar Heels have not been a great shooting team this season, but when they get it going from outside, they are almost impossible to beat. Against a very athletic Indiana squad, UNC hit 11-20 threes, and guard Marcus Paige, who has had an up-and-down senior year, had one of his best games of the year, scoring 21 points on 12 shots.
Notre Dame can score with the best of them, but according to Ken Pomeroy, the Irish are by far the worst defensive team left in the field. North Carolina will likely prove to be too deep and talented, and will take the rubber match against Mike Brey's team.